Screed/Lament - what do you think?


(harkyman) #1

I’m sure this is just one of many fairly lengthy screed/laments to come, but I thought I’d get mine out now.

I can’t believe it, but I actually feel very down about NaN dying.

First things first:
We told them so - we told them so - we told them so. Man, they must have heard it from just about everyone. There was much speculation that NaN couldn’t be selling too many Publisher licenses. I mean, really, just look around. There is no real-time 3D content anywhere. Why? It wasn’t a lack of tools. It was a lack of interest. What exactly can RT3D do for you that anything else that already exists doesn’t do, except eat up your resources? Not much. There is no killer use for RT3D (except, of course, games). I think that everyone in the Blender community grasped that, at least on a gut level. It must have been hard for those NaN employees and those in the know to defend the NaN business plan and put down the community’s concerns when in reality they probably knew at some level that NaN was dead wrong and the community was right. Well maybe not right, but at least less wrong than NaN.

Maybe NaN got the word months ago that the funding was at an end. Maybe Ton et al. came up with this last desperate measure just to stave off the dogs for a little while longer. If so, then we have the business plan to thank for a couple more months of development. If not, if they really thought that this was going to DO IT in a big way, then WHAT THE HELL WERE THEY THINKING? The community (mostly) tried to be polite about their skepticism, but the undercurrent was clear. No one had faith in what was obviously a bad plan. And lest anyone say that it was that lack of faith that contributed to NaN’s demise… oh, come on. NaN is dead because they were selling something that no one needed and, even worse, no one wanted.

You can sell something that no one needs, but no matter what you do, you can’t sell something that no one wants. In fact, in my years of dealing with advertising agencies and of being a general observer of the media :), my working philosophy of advertising has developed thusly: get the consumer to form an emotional attachment to your product, and you won’t have to sell to them. They’ll INVENT reasons to buy it. This is why so many effective advertising campaigns have so little to do with the product and so much to do with style/image/feeling. A company like IBM has its most successful campaign in years not by putting the hard numbers out there, but by producing clever, funny ads. This is IBM here, the holders of the Big Iron. And they’re not even selling on their merits.

And this is the shame of it. NaN already had a sizable core group who had formed that emotional attachment. It’s safe to say that the Blender community (myself included) loves Blender. They feel a genuine affection for it. They even said they would be willing to spend their hard-earned money for it! The feeling I got from reading NaN’s responses to the community’s concerns was this: “We’re professional business people now. We don’t have time for you… you… kids. You amateurs. You emotional people. Leave us alone.” Obviously, they have seen that they were wrong. They had proven that they could generate a small market. Instead of trying to scale that up, they went in an unproven direction. A shame.

Had NaN listened to the Blender community, I’m not sure that the result would have been any different. Blender has some great points, but I somehow doubt that it could have generated the revenue necessary to further its own development. The modelling engine is great. The interface is… different. There were some things that DID need work, though, and we all know what they are. Things that a professional app must have before anyone will take it seriously. Good documentation. Good import/export. A good renderer. It was headed that way, but it wasn’t there yet. And now it looks like it won’t be.

Which brings me to another point. What is the status of a license agreement with a soon-to-be nonexistent entity? In other words, for how long are Publisher licensees contrained to the terms of the license? In other other words, how long will it be before some says “F those stupid bastards, I’m posting my Publisher 2.25 so everyone can use it?”

I don’t know what the point of all of this is. I guess I’m pissed off at NaN for acting like a normal company, when I thought that they were something different. Maybe I should be pissed at myself for having such unrealistic expectations. Maybe that’s what I’m feeling. I’m angry at myself for once again thinking that the world was a better place than it really is. I hate when I do that.

Now, I’m off to mope.


(dreamsgate) #2

don’t mope, help us keep this going. NaN will be back.


(malefico) #3

Roland,

I think just the same about NaN attitude to us, the amateur & kids, who turned out to be the REAL Blender users.

I was angry about so much concern about the game engine, I spent months myself trying to do some decent work with it, and suddenly it vanished in improved versions I could never afford (that’s my case living in a poor country)

I don’t even use 2.23 because it can’t append blends !

So, I’ve been stucked with 2.22 for a while and looks like will remain that way forever.

I’m very sad about NaN. I agree with you, they didn’t listen to people’s voice.

A pity.

malefico.


(MaceG) #4

Yeah,
They seem to have brushed away a faithful community. We were forgotten. It hurts, but they chose to chase the bucks.


(Sprite) #5

Wow, Harkyman, that was REALLY well-thought out!

I haven’t experienced any of the above, since I just started using Blender. But, as an objective observer, I could offer some thoughts. Just don’t flame me. >_<

Who has Flash? (raises hand)

Who thinks it’s really cool? (Sure, it can get annoying, but it does boost the level of interactivity that the Internet offers.)

Now, if you don’t know the history behind Flash, it was actually developed by Microsoft called “FutureSplash.” Macromedia developed Shockwave Director eons ago and acquired FutureSplash a couple years back. Since then, it has exploded in popularity.

Why? Small file sizes. Great effects. Interactive. 2D vector art looks crisp and sharp. It’s useful for many purposes: education, games, promotional websites (for movies and such), advertisements (oh, the horror!), and even chatrooms, forums, shopping websites, and more. Macromedia has not only gathered popularity for releasing such an innovative tool, but they’ve earned oodles of cash. Look at all the people banging on their door, trying to get their hands on Flash MX! Plus, the Flash web plug-in is ubiquitous: you can find it on many browsers across many platforms (e.g. Linux, Embedded Linux, Windows, Windows CE, Mac OS).

So, why not take this to 3D?

Not a Number might have thought they could release an innovative product (which it is … it’s an awesome modelling/rendering/animating/etc. tool) if they pursued GameBlender and the 3D web plug-in. You saw they were trying to innovate. Their business model was innovative: make it cheap/free, and thus affordable – thus people will spread the word, create more content, and want to buy their more expensive version. They pursued licenses and agreements so that Blender could spread (like Flash has) onto PDA’s (can you say “iPaq”?), mobile phones, and console systems. They probably wanted to be known as innovators of 3D – heck, their motto is “Not a Number: 3D-Enabling Technology”. All by a small, European company, not some giant by Macromedia.

I mean, (and I’m saying this as if I were a member of NaN) why cater to the raytracing crowd when Alias|Wavefront, Discreet, and lots of other companies have already saturated the market?

Well, like Harkyman said, what can you do with 3D, really? Games? Real estate agency websites? WildTangent (www.wildtangent.com) has been struggling with 3D for the web, and they’re slowly rising to fame with all these game deals. Their website has grown tremendously over the past year. But that’s all they’re making – games. Adobe Dimension hasn’t really taken off. Heck, even Macromedia’s Shockwave 3D initiative has lost its initial steam, if it had any at all! And VRML? What the heck is that?!

You can consider other things too: PDA’s are still underpowered (Palm, which holds the majority of the PDA market, STILL can’t run Flash decently on its puny Dragonball processors, and it took them eons to get an ARM-compatible version of their OS working.). Super-powered cell phones are still a specialty (at least here in the States). And as for Blender for PlayStation 2? Hah. If you want to code for PS2 or ANY other major commercial game platform, you’d need thousands of dollars in financial backing for equipment and such, and with all that at stake, why depend on a $300 toy? You might as well code it in.

So NaN tried to fill a niche that didn’t exist. You can’t blame them for trying to earn money by attempting to pioneer and revolutionize 3D. After all, Ton’s child (and everyone else at NaN) need to eat.

But that’s an objective viewpoint. I don’t feel betrayed. I feel overly concerned and frustrated that such a cool, wonderful product is hanging by a single, golden thread.


(Pablosbrain) #6

Good point… I agree. There are a lot of uses out there for 3D and there are a lot of others trying to do it too… WildTangent, Pulse3D, Macromedia, Adobe… you name it… you’ve all seen how 3D has crept into almost everything you see or do… Its just gonna keep on creeping. I hope that Blender comes back. I hope they pursue both sides of it still. And also… a note for everyone… a lot of other stuff could have happened without us ever knowing to cause NaN to go down. Granted they didn’t have a solid plan. I think they almost got it right at the end… upgrade the pay version but still keep the free one and upgrade it at a slower rate. Well… my 2c


(TaylorR) #7

dear god man, thats alot of writeing. Roland you could right an autobiograhpy titled “The March 14 desaster”,just kiddin , bah who knows what nan will do :, no need to mope either :slight_smile: